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Learn How to Win with GM Boris! - ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ Bishops #1

Opening: :


Bishop Pair advantage:  from simple tactics to mastering the endgame.
Most chess players know, thank to the study of master games, that two bishops are stronger than two knights or than bishop and knight. However, very few know the reasons of this advantage and how to turn it into account. There are many situations where pieces of similar stature perform differently.

Capablanca said: " When your opponent has a bishop you usually have to put your pawns on the squares with the same color of this bishop's square. On the contrary, when you have a bishop, you have to put your pawns on the squares of the opposite color of the bishop's squares, no matter if your opponent has  a bishop or not."
If most of your pawns (particularly the central pawns) are on the same color squares as one of your bishops, that bishop is considered a "bad" bishop.
Similarly, a bishop that does not share the same squares color as most of your pawns is considered a "good" bishop. Why is that so? Because this  'color configuration' allows the player to control squares of both colors; allows the bishop to move freely among the pawns, and helps fix enemy pawns on squares on which they can be attacked by the bishop. Such a bishop is often referred to as a "good" bishop.
Good bishops are often more advantageous than bad ones. Good bishops have more freedom of movement, and control squares that their allied pawns cannot. On the other hand, "bad" bishops can sometimes be useful, as they and their pawns can defend each other.

Even when most of your pawns (particularly the central pawns) are on the same color squares as one of your bishops and your bishop is outside of its pawn chain, that is an active bishop!
Active bishops have greater freedom and are generally better placed than those still trapped inside the pawn chain.

In summary :
Bishops can be classified as "good" or "bad" based on their relationship with their pawns.
A bishop whose movements are cramped by its own pawns is a "bad" bishop.
A bishop having freedom of movement along squares of a different color than those on which its own pawns stand, is a "good" bishop.
A "good" bishop defends a number of squares against incursions by opponent's pieces. A "bad" bishop is entrapped in its own camp.

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